As no doubt many others here, I constantly get bombarded with emails (and phone messages) from recruiters. Here is the typical email (paraphrased):

Yo, Dude!

I have a job for a Java developer on site in Keokuk, IA. If you're interested, let me know!

- Some random Recruiter

But how did this person get my contact info? Doubtless from my resume, which says right on it that I am only willing to work remotely or in two specific California counties. So why is he wasting my time with this Keokuk job, especially when I'm not really qualified for the position?

When I respond with nothing but my resume -- so that he can look at it and see what I stated above about my location requirements --, he responds with:

"Thanks for responding; since you're interested, let's talk..."

It's as if I sent him an email offering to sell him a corn binder, because, well, he lives in the Midwest so he must be a farmer. And then when he writes back to say he's a recruiter, not a farmer, I respond with, "Well, obviously, you want to become a farmer, because you used that word in your last email, and who would want to remain a recruiter, so...how about buying this corn binder? Huh, Huh?!?"

There should be some way of preventing this type of irritating time-wasting?

  • I suspect he might be using a shotgun approach: fire off as many emails to as many potential candidates as possible, a few of them might return a positive response. It's easier than sending specific, targeted emails, and in the experience of some recruiters, it might yield similar results. So why spend soooooo much time with 8-10 precision-targeted emails, when you could quickly send dozens to hundreds of roughly targeted emails and get almost the same results? Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 20:17
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    You made the worst possible mistake when it comes to spam, your responded. Now the spammer knows that someone is actively following that email account; someone with enough motivation to even read their spam. At this point, there really isn't a whole lot to do. The cat's out of the bag.
    – Servy
    Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 20:21
  • I'd have to set up the spam filter to filter millions of cats (as well as thousands of chix); good idea, but it would be a pyrrhic victory. Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 21:40
  • @Servy: Ignoring doesn't seem to do any good; I've been getting email from a cat named "Casey" about jobs in Oconomowoc (a place I left two years ago) on a regular basis (probably once a week), even though I mash the "Spam" button with the email highlighted every dad-burned time. Oh, pardon my French; I mean, every dad-blasted time. Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 22:24
  • 3
    "When I respond with nothing but my resume -- so that he can look at it and see what I stated above about my location requirements" -- communication doesn't work like that. If you want to make a point by email, write a one-paragraph email containing that point. Someone who contacts you unsolicited is not going to read your resume with a view to what he might have done wrong. He will consider it more likely that you're interested (but your resume bizarrely suggests you aren't) than that you aren't interested (but you bizarrely emailed him). Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 0:09

6 Answers 6


Well you may have a couple of things I'd do differently:

  1. You have a real email address online in your CV, so you are effectively asking them to spam your real address. Modern email clients like GMail and Outlook.com allow you to set up realistic looking aliases that come to your normal email (but to a sub folder or label), you can then set up cleanup rules (you never know when these guys will appear with a real prospect), or if not you can mark them as spam and bin them automatically
  2. Don't reply if not interested, you just mark yourself out as a target. The spamming recruiters just run a query against their CV data store to match keywords, sometimes even the 3rd or 4th level matches if no one else bites, you have to remember it isn't aimed at you directly, you're just collateral damage.

Remember, these people are in the same league as estate agents (realtors), they have a hide like a rhino, they won't take it personal if you ignore them. The other thing is if you don't ignore them, at least tell them what you would be interested in, if they know what they can match you to (explicitly), you're more likely to get something useful from them, don't assume they'll work it out from your CV, that's how you got spammed in the first place.

  • 1
    many questions would be avoided here if people just realised one golden rule - cvs are boring and nobody reads them
    – bharal
    Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 1:31
  • @bharal - I'd assume you're not a hiring manager then, because I've read hundreds over the years. Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 23:38
  • @ColleenV my point is that you pay the price of sharing your emails with a service, which you have no reason to assume does not peek at / sell your info. Plus their domain name is somewhat disturbing, it's like telling people you are hiding from them. It's a paid service now (maybe it was free in the past). There are other free alternatives. Good for online sign ups. Not so good for putting in a CV.
    – rapt
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 20:55

When I respond with nothing but my resume -- so that he can look at it and see what I stated above about my location requirements --, he responds with:

"Thanks for responding; since you're interested, let's talk..."

I think this is probably where the miscommunication lies. The recruiter sees that you've sent your CV (and only your CV) and decides that you're potentially interested. Even if they've read the CV and seen that you're not keen to work in Keokuk, there must be some reason you've included your CV - it is, after all, your flier that you use when looking for work.

I probably wouldn't send my CV to the recruiter. Many ideal job requirements are negotiable, including location. Some people would be prepared to move to somewhere they don't like for that dream job. Sending your CV to the recruiter without explanation means that they have to take a guess as to how flexible you are - and of course, they're going to guess that you're interested.

In your position, I think you'd be better to reply with "I'm sorry, I'm only interested in jobs in counties X and Y. If you have any positions there, I would be happy to provide my CV". Or, don't reply at all if you're not interested.

How can I stop recruiters from continually sending me emails about positions?

If you're getting a lot of these emails (and don't want to get them), find out where they are coming from. Add "By the way, where did you get my email address from?" to the messages. Eventually someone will tell you. Was it your personal website? Add "Please do not email me about job postings" next to your email address. Was it a recruitment firm? Call them and ask them to take you off file. Etc, etc.


How can I stop recruiters from continually sending me emails about positions?

Unfortunately, you can't.

It's too late to save your current email and phone number. You will need to let that one go.

Recruiters take your resume and enter it into their systems. It spreads until all sorts of spam is hitting you.

You can no more get recruiters to stop spamming you than you can get any other spammer to stop.

A separate email solely for job hunting and recruiter spam will allow you to turn off or ignore the recruitment spam.


There should be some way of preventing this type of irritating time-wasting?

There are ways.

If you toss your resume out to the public and it contains contact information, it's not possible to stop people from responding in any way they choose. However, there are a few things you can do that might diminish the flood a bit.

When you get an email with a completely off-base proposal, don't "respond with nothing but [your] resume". Sending your resume back to someone who already read your resume clearly isn't sending the message you desire. Next time, either send a note back saying "I'm not interested, thanks.", or "I'm only interested in X, thanks anyway.", or don't reply at all.

I'm not in the habit of posting my resume online. If I did, I would include only a single email, specifically designed for responses to this resume, rather than using my personal email address. That way I could more easily filter the responses. I can respond or not respond, without filling up my personal inbox.

If you get a response from a recruiter who you feel is sub-par due to not comprehending what you have written in your resume, you can simply block further emails from them.


Recruiters are trying to do their job by sending emails to masses of people, I think we should try to be patient because when we're looking for a job these emails can become useful.

Unless a specific person is bothering you with constant emails (block the address or something), just write a polite response stating you are not interested, it is your choice if you'd like to say why you're passing the offer.

However, I suggest you rethink which details you'd like to share on the web and which you don't. I keep my Linkedin profile non-public, so people can't google me and see where I work (I also enjoy having a very difficult to spell sure name :-)), if you're not a Linkedin contact of mine you don't have my private email and I don't publish telephone numbers.

I occasionally get a phone call, and I politely say thank you but I really like my current job. I do use these opportunities to share these job offerings between friends (I suspect this is why they're approaching me, but I'm happy to help my friends).

  • 4
    "I think we should try to be patient " - I disagree; they should read the resumes and try to match the jobs to the applicants, not sending every job to every email. They are showing a great disregard for people's time. And they are like the boy that cried wolf - if they ever did send a suitable job, I wouldn't know it, because I don't look at them any more. Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 19:16

I've stopped including my email address in resumes I post publicly. There are people that just troll blogs looking for resumes to spam jobs to, and this prevents it from happening.

I allow people to contact me through LinkedIn because it gives me more accountability and more control. If someone is spamming you, you can just report them and it gives a black mark on their record.

To get the people currently spamming you to stop, just continue blocking their addresses. They'll get the idea eventually.

  • @Chad I rewrote my answer.
    – Codeman
    Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 0:20

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